Umpiring - Art, Craft, or Science?

Discussion in 'Development, Skills & Advice' started by Diligent, May 16, 2008.

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  1. Art

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  2. Craft

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  3. Science

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  4. Other

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  1. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    What's the difference?

    Dennis Dutton (link fixed) says that when human intelligence produces something useful it's craft, and art if it's (edited) emotionally stimulating but otherwise (end edit) useless. The more relevant distinction might be Brian Price on 'armouring': an art, in any medium, attempts to convey a message to an audience; craft is the skilled use of technique, hence the term ‘craftsmanship'.

    Perhaps that is why some umpires 'go to pieces' when being watched for assessment or coaching. Normally their umpiring craftsmanship is to give the players a good fair game. But when they are watched, some effort gets diverted into the art - to convey a message that this umpire is worth promoting - to the detriment of the craft.

    When FHF umpiring discussions get heated, is it because some contributors are treating umpiring as a science?

    By the way, you can change your vote later if you want.
     
  2. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
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    Great quotes Diligent - thanks for those. To my mind, umpiring combines elements of art, craft and science; so that doesn't help you much really does it?!
     
  3. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    Art is useless? Right. Moving on.

    (BTW, your link is broken. It's coded as "http://Dennis Dutton", so it's tough to follow up and find out why this guy makes such generalizations.)

    So we're elevating an armourist to the vaunted position of philosopher? Given the baseless suppositions made in his argument, I think he should stick to the art/craft/science of armoury. I don't find his distinctions in any way, shape or form relevant.

    Or, perhaps there's a more simple answer - they lack confidence. They doubt their processes, doubt their decisions, doubt their instincts, and therefore don't umpire up to their usual level of performance. Combine intrinsic doubt with external sources - questions and appealing from coaches, players and fans, and the umpire lacking confidence is on shaky ground.

    Here, no. When the discussions get heated it because of the way in which people present their arguments - either they're poorly worded so as to lack any coherence, use inflammatory terms, present veiled insults to those holding an opposing view, or lack sound logic. When those factors aren't present, we have productive discussions.

    So my question is, how do these terms add to our umpiring? Can we then feel smug in knowing that we are practising a craft, not creating art? Or can the scientists look down on the craftspeople? Or does this create some completely unnecessary division, a source of debate that does nothing to help us when we're on the pitch?
     
  4. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    Biff - ouch! Bam - ugh! Scrish - hey stop!
    OK the OP was poorly worded and incoherent.

    To start again - I'm involved in helping a bunch of new umpires get started on easy summer league games, and maybe what to say to boost their confidence might be informed by whether umpiring is art craft or science. It seems to be mainly craft - show them a few basic tools and techniques and they produce a surprisingly good performance.

    Why didn't I write that first time around? I don't know. :sorry:
     
  5. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    I seriously don't see how trying to put a 'label' on umpiring helps us in any way.....especially when words like art & craft are so vague, anyway?

    I'd have thought a discussion of the attitudes and skills involved in doing the job competently might be more productive.
     
  6. Number13

    Number13 FHF Regular Player

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    Some people find such words incredibly valuable though for ordering their thoughts. Especially if you're trying to get them to focus. It's why sports psychologists suggest to athletes that they have a key word that they can use to refocus. As to art, science or craft I'd say the practice of umpiring is a craft in the sense that it is practiced within a few guidelines but also an art in a sense that umpires are reflective and are constantly adapting to the changing nature of the game (for this reason I have tremendous respect for them, it's not an easy job). The game is not fixed like constants in our physical universe, it is constantly evolving.

    As to how much umpiring is a science, I'd say not much. The rules that guide umpiring might be regarded as scientifically determined but any attempt to generate timeless and universal rules for an evolving and reflective game is ultimately pointless (tribute to Karl Popper).
     
  7. animal

    animal FHF All Time Great

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    Locally, Umpiring=Guesswork lol

    ANIMAL
    My humbles for offending any "good" umpires
     
  8. Alexei

    Alexei FHF Regular Player

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    2 years ago, a top FIH Official once told me:

    "Umpiring is not science." :nerd:
     
  9. hobo

    hobo FHF Regular Player

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    Voted 'other' on the basis that depending upon how you define the terms, all of them apply.
     
  10. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    Exactly, hobo. Me too.
     
  11. Grumpy

    Grumpy FHF Legend

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    A dangerous place for a coach is this place.
    Umpiring for me is
    Knowing the rules
    Knowing your players
    Making sure your interpretation is the same as the players and coach or visa a versa Pre match meeting helps
    Respect for the players
    Control of the game without talking down to the players
    Understanding the emotions involved, each match is different and each level has to be umpired differently, having a feel for each level
    But most importently, they have to be able to communicate on a level by word or deed that all can understand, that is everybody playing , watching and officiating.
    Just the thoughts of a thick coach who is waiting to be shot down and be ridiculed
     
  12. g9

    g9 FHF Legend

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    Hopefully those thoughts don't merit any reason for someone to shoot you down. Umpiring...some good and bad examples in our tournament today, but I tend to think of it as mostly a craft that needs to be perfected through practice and the aspects you mention...respect, understanding, working with of-the-moment decisions and player emotion, making sure you and your partner are on the same page. Surely not a science..., but wouldn't say one word or another defines it really.
     
  13. Grumpy

    Grumpy FHF Legend

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    Ta thanks for that. Umpiring is like everything else in the world Common sense, when to use the rules, when to ignore the rules and when to use the cards to inforce the rules. Long live common sense
     
  14. g9

    g9 FHF Legend

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    Sometimes remarkably little of that to go around!
     
  15. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    So did I .
     
  16. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    Starts as a science, learn the rules, apply the rules, recognise the physical circumstances and apply the correct rule. Act to apply the rules. Mostly black & white; penalty or no penalty. Action is after the event = correctional

    Develops into a craft - skilled application of the rules and interpretation of varied circumstances in which the most appropriate rule is applied. Action is measured and penalties are appropriate to the circumstances and environment.

    Finessed into an art - rules are only applied sufficiently to ensure a fair progression of the game. Action is sufficient to maintain control and flow without such control being obvious. Actions are pre-emptive and anticipatory.
     
  17. justin-old

    justin-old FHF Legend

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    Good analysis , Neo.
    I thought it is only a craft if you are a crafty umpire? ;)
     
  18. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    The discussion on Consistency relates to this.

    Maybe being consistent is the main purpose of umpiring craftmanship - the better umpires are at their craft, the more similar are their interpretations, at least throughout any given competition.

    When an umpire gets artistic, won't consistency be the first casualty? And who wants a scientific umpire experimenting with which decision works best?
     
  19. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    Well, it all depends on what you define as "getting artistic", and whether that has anything to do with your definition of an "art." You clearly have a definition in mind that connotes certain qualities that are antithetical to good umpiring. Maybe other people do not - Neo's definition clearly has a more positive take.

    It all gets back to whether these terms have any shared meaning and what they mean to umpiring to be useful in any way.
     
  20. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    Almost any definition of 'art' would seem to involve creativity, sending a message, doing something different than usual or ever before...

    In a particular game a novel decision might seem brilliant, and may be recognised as great umpiring by spectators and other umpires. However, the fact that last week's umpire handled it differently is precisely what winds up certain coaches and many players, and has them screaming to 'keep it simple' or 'make it black and white'.

    Now I know coaches always winge, and umpires get used to ignoring them; but just sometimes they might have a point.
     

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